Over the last three weeks, 17 long distance buses and three haulage trucks have been impounded at Beitbridge Border Post and their owners made to pay $26,3 million in fines plus $19,8 million in unpaid duty during an anti-smuggling operation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
The buses and haulage trucks were impounded after being allegedly used to smuggle an assortment of contraband that prejudiced the State $19,8 million in customs duty.
In an interview yesterday, Zacc spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure said a joint operation with Zimra is seeking to plug financial leaks at borders.
The operation started with Beitbridge and will spread to other ports of entry as Zacc seeks to reverse financial indiscipline that has prejudiced the State millions of dollars in revenue.
“Zacc in collaboration with Zimra is intensifying an anti-smuggling operation that commenced on April 13. Beitbridge Border Post is the most notorious transit point for the racket that is costing the Government millions in lost revenue,” said Comm Makamure.
“A total of 17 long distances buses and three haulage trucks have so far been arrested and impounded. The total prejudice to the State in terms of duty payment is $19,8 million. The culprits have since paid the duty in addition to fines amounting to $26,3 million.”
“Zacc will leave no stone unturned in cleaning stinking corruption at the ports of entry. The operation to be extended to the other border posts. Intelligence has revealed that smuggling is rampant. Asset recovery is a top priority for Zacc in addition to criminal investigations for prosecution.”
While Zacc has deployed its crack team at points of entry, it has also set its focus on rural communities, in addition to urban local authorities where it also emerged that millions of dollars allocated for development projects might have been abused or embezzled by some public officials.
They include sale of Presidential inputs, sale of State land and food aid.
To this end, Zacc has embarked on an exercise to visit rural communities and will also establish provincial anti-corruption awareness campaign chapters in all provinces as part of a deliberate measure to curb stealing.
President Mnangagwa in August 2019 officially launched Zacc’s anti-corruption campaign and has continually decried corruption and urged everyone to end it.
The anti-graft body is also targeting individuals who have inexplicably acquired wealth to justify their newly found riches failure of which it approaches civil courts to invoke the law and freeze and ultimately recover the property.
One of the latest person include a Mutare man, Edward Muhamba who is suspected to be a mastermind of smuggling of second-hand clothes into Zimbabwe from Mozambique, has seen his property and trucks worth US$500 000 frozen by the High Court until he explains how he acquired them.
The High Court gave him 30 days to explain in a sworn statement, which must include receipts and other proof, how he acquired the two commercial properties, a house and five trucks or risk having the lot forfeited to the State. Herald.